Tower Defense (TD) games come in many forms these days; from open field placement, to linear paths, and in the case of The Legend of Evil, a side scroller with a lot of character to it for the Nintendo Switch. I’ve been a fan of Tower Defense games for decades now, and I love seeing the innovation that comes from the genre. The formula is simple – defeat a wave of incoming baddies while generally protecting something. In this game the tables are turned; instead of defeating waves of baddies, you’re in fact the baddy defeating waves of the good guys trying to take down your evil pillars and demon portals. It’s this premise that sets the tone, style and gameplay up for a unique experience.
There are two main modes offered in this game. The first is a story driven Campaign where you play the role of a demon named Bill in a quest to destroy mankind. You’ll be tasked with deploying demon gates that summon certain demons out to remove mankind. Gameplay mechanics here are very straightforward and easy to use on the Nintendo Switch, keeping up the overall pace of each level. Strategy in these levels (unlike most TD games that rely on pathing placement) is instead focused around a linear lineup. This means selecting the right demons or towers closest to the enemy is key.
As the campaign progresses, you’ll really start to unlock a lot of options when it comes to what can be summoned, along with different defensive towers, and a plethora of upgrades for everything. When I first started playing I was quite wary that the skill and strategy would be very limited in a side scrolling TD game, but at around the 5th campaign level I was surprised at the nuances it took to win the battle. On normal mode, the difficulty ramp gets steep quick, but right before you start any level you’ll have the option to play on Easy mode, with a cost of forfeiting some achievement medal possibilities if you do so. These don’t have any impact on progression or unlockables it appeared, so don’t feel too bad going this route when things get tough.
The Campaign is structured with some sprinkled in story bits that offer some humor, but I would have loved to have seen that envelope pushed a bit further given the premise and style of this game. Artistically the game really shines in the 16-bit space. Demons show creative variety, the landscapes are nicely crafted and visually appealing, and I loved the 2D art on my towers as they upgraded, resulting in looming monolith structures on my side of a level. This artistic style coupled with an appropriate soundtrack and sound effects in the same 16-bit format offered a really cohesive and enjoyable experience.
When you’re ready for a break from the campaign, the game offers another mode entitled Rogue Conquest. This really opens up all possibilities for the game and allows you to play a roguelike experience using the demons against a procedurally generated level selection. Winning each level rewarded me with coins that I could use to buy any of the main objects, demons, and portal points for the next level. It also offered me the ability to buy out any of the demons’ special abilities, which could be used on any demon I had bought via a Forge menu. This fusing system allows any demon I own to absorb the abilities of any of the other demon types, with up to 5 slots available for these abilities. I absolutely loved this system, as it really allowed a lot of demon experimentation within this mode, and is a very respectable feature for this game.
Rogue Conquest mode should have had the potential to be the game’s really strong lasting appeal point, however it currently has one critical flaw in that there is no way to save progress. This means you don’t have the option to go back and play some Campaign missions while you have an open Rogue Conquest run in progress. You also can’t quit the game to play another one without your progress being wiped. With the Nintendo Switch being such a portable system and allowing quick swaps of games for its consumer base, it’s extremely disappointing that this mode wouldn’t allow progress saves, even if after completing a level. I absolutely loved playing this part of the game and see the huge potential of sitting down for a short to moderate play session, trying out new demon combinations to see how far I can make it. But without being able to save that mid-progress, it’s just a crippled feature for now.
The Legend of Evil summons a great gameplay experience into the Tower Defense genre, and it’s a great fit for the Nintendo Switch overall. Gameplay was easy, the mechanics were polished, and even if not there at first glance, there’s a lot of strategy involved even within this 2D format. For $7.99 at the time of this writing, I’d recommend checking it out if you like TD games.
The Legend of Evil Review
- Graphics - 7.5/107.5/10
- Sound - 7.5/107.5/10
- Gameplay - 8/108/10
- Lasting Appeal - 5/105/10
Final Thoughts: GOOD
The Legend of Evil brings a creative and easily accessible single player Tower Defense game to the Nintendo Switch’s table. Gameplay is straightforward, but offers a lot of strategy as you progress. Rogue Conquest mode is close to being the big selling point of this game for being a very dynamic and replayable mode, but without a save system in this mode the game’s lasting appeal for me was severely dampened.